Word Lens iPhone App Revolutionizes Translations [VIDEO]

Word Lens Revolutionizes Translations - Tweet from @shelisrael

When I first saw Shel Israel’s (@shelisrael) tweet and the iTunes store description off of his link, I was skeptical, as was Shel. Visual translations via an iPhone app?

Word Lens is the real thing.

I just conducted a quick test on the iPhone app.

On-screen text message:

New era message - English

iPhone screenshot of the Word Lens translation:

Word Lens Translation

The application has a “Pause” button which takes a still of the translation. In still mode, the translated words become hyperlinks which allows the user to click through to see the translation of the specific word.

Linking to specific word translations

How much is this app?

The actual Word Lens application is free and it comes with a Word Reverse and Word Erase tools.

The English-to-Spanish and the Spanish-to-English translation engines are $4.99 each. To access those libraries, you click on the white oval at the top of the screen (it will read “Demo:Reverse Words”) and you are taken to a Languages screen which shows the installed items and the “Available to Download” items.

VIDEO: Word Lens in action – Santa Paula, CA

I photographed the “Smile at the camera” sign at the La Unica bakery then showed the owner how it worked. She was amazed by the translations.


* I’d rate the translation accuracy around 70-80%.

* The app doesn’t work very well with full pages of text but it will parse through and try to translate what it can.

* The app doesn’t have Spanish regional settings so it won’t know whether to translate “potatoes” to “papas” or to “patatas.” There are hundreds of such words that vary in usage from country to country.

* According to the iTunes listing, the requirements are:
— Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and iPod touch (4th generation). Requires iOS 4.0 or later.

Is the Word Lens application a game changer in the translation world or is this just another app?